On April 21st, feminist scholar Raquel Rosario Sánchez announced that she had lost her case against Bristol University. A court ruling on the case found that Raquel was not owed a “duty of care” by the University, where she has been working to attain her PhD for the past four years and has been subject to severe harassment.
Raquel, whose research and writing focus on violence against women and girls, began to be targeted by other students in 2018 when she agreed to chair a meeting of the organization Woman’s Place UK.
Because the organization stands for women’s sex based rights, Raquel’s participation was considered an act of blasphemy by trans activists and their allies, who consider any mention of sex-based reality an affront to their ideology. This is when her ordeal began.
A group of students whipped up a harassment campaign against Raquel, which included actions such as threatening to throw milkshakes and eggs at her, encouraging other students to physically assault her, distributing a pamphlet trying to incite fellow students to yell “SCUM, SCUM, SCUM” at her when she was going to give evidence to the University about what was happening to her. Raquel, who is from the Dominican Republic, was also told she should be punched and turfed out of England.
“I am glad that when the moment of truth came, I took these risks in order to do the right thing and object to injustice.”
On her crowdfunder page she writes, “I’ve been called terf, scum, trash, nasty, bigot, heinous and sickening, during periodic campaigns of vilification targeting every feminist event I’ve participated in.”
In her lawsuit, Raquel alleged that the university had a duty to protect her from the organized and long-term bullying that was being unleashed upon her. Although the court ultimately ruled against her, included in the judgment were a number of significant concessions to Raquel's claims. The judge very strongly condemned the actions of her bullies, saying that they crossed the line from freedom of expression into a “failure to respect the right of others to freedom of belief and speech.”
Raquel announced the outcome of the case in a statement released on Twitter last Thursday:
“To risk the loss of my academic dreams, financial ruin and reputational damage is a frightening prospect for anyone, and especially at my age. But I am glad that when the moment of truth came, I took these risks in order to do the right thing and object to injustice.”
“I wish I would have won and I did not,” Raquel told 4W. “But I am grateful to have an acknowledgment that what happened to me was abhorrent and deplorable. No student should have to face years of intimidation and violent threats.”
It is precisely this type of vitriolic abuse that falls outside the bounds of free speech; threats of violence directly affect the rights of others to speak freely and safely. The violent nature of the threats against Raquel will come as no surprise to anyone familiar with trans ideologues and their tactics.
Kathleen Stock, a former professor at Sussex University, has likewise been viciously harassed by gender ideologues for standing up for biological reality. She was threatened so constantly that police eventually assigned her a dedicated hotline. Her university did little to interfere with the campaign of harassment, and Stock was eventually forced to resign.
Trans rights activists regularly stoop to abusive tactics like these. If their movement was based on truth and justice, why would they need to resort to intimidating and harassing a young immigrant student who disagrees with their agenda?
“No student should have to face years of intimidation and violent threats.”
We are living through a modern day version of “The Emperor's New Clothes” and Raquel is one of the onlookers who points out that the emperor is naked. For that she must be punished harshly, so that everyone else will be too scared to speak the self-evident truth: that men don’t magically become women when they don a wig and makeup.
Raquel’s case against the University was a David versus Goliath scenario wherein one young woman faced down a prestigious institution with a massive pool of resources. She crowdfunded her legal fees, and did not back down from her principled stance even when the school offered her money to quit her PhD. In June 2021, Raquel was awarded a grant from the Plebity Free Speech Fund for her courageous stand for women’s rights in the face of these devastating attempts to silence her.
Courts have historically found that a duty of care is owed when an institution has a responsibility to protect an individual from harm. In universities, this includes obligations under equality laws to ensure students have access to study without being discriminated against or harassed, including sexual harassment. Although Raquel sued the University for negligence, breach of contract and sex discrimination, she was unsuccessful as courts have struggled to find an appropriate balance between protecting students and placing undue burdens on schools.
Regardless of the court’s decision, this case demonstrates shameful treatment of a student by a university. Not only did the school fail to protect Raquel from a targeted harassment campaign occurring on campus, they were in fact another screw being turned in her back when they sided with her harassers and put her on the defensive for her beliefs.
“This chapter has closed and now I feel nothing but freedom.”
This young woman has more backbone and honesty than the entire university that kowtowed to her bullies and tried to pressure her into silence. Her story provides an example of not only the depths that trans activists will go to silence anyone they deem their enemy, but also the tenacity it takes to stand up to them.
Although Raquel’s case did not ultimately achieve victory in court, her plight and her bravery have been met with a wave of support and outrage. In November 2021, JK Rowling tweeted that Raquel, among other women targeted by trans activists, have been “put into a state of fear and distress for no other reason than that they refuse to uncritically accept that the socio-political concept of gender identity should replace that of sex.”
I interviewed Raquel in December 2020 about her case, her academic research, and the bullying she has endured. She described to me how Bristol University not only failed to do anything about the bullying, but in fact treated her like the perpetrator, subjecting her to cross examination in front of one of her harassers, and questioning her feminist views as if her opinions might possibly merit this kind of treatment.
Raquel remains steadfast and refuses to let this court case define her. “My life does not revolve around suing Bristol University,” she told 4W.
“I did not choose to be abused, so I would consider it a personal defeat to have my life defined as a student who was bullied and had to sue her University. Win or lose, this legal case is not the highlight of my life. Moving forward, it is my desire to be known for the merits of my work and my accomplishments as a writer, campaigner and researcher. I consider these past four years to be a deeply painful and unfortunate episode in my life. This chapter has closed and now I feel nothing but freedom.”
Because the court decided against her case, Raquel may now be forced to pay the University’s legal costs. You can donate to her crowdfunder here.
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